by Joann Flora,
Acupressure, Nutrition Counseling, Qigong
February 11, 2004
Wash hands often, especially when performing unsanitary tasks. Carry hand sanitizer or disinfectant towelettes for when soap and water are not available.
Sneeze and cough into the crook of your arm, not on your hands. We've all been raised to politely cover our mouths when we sneeze or cough. This is an effective way of preventing the spray of germs into the air around us. However, the next thing we touch or pass to another person carries them on. By using the crook of the arm, we limit the spread by air and contact. If you have a tissue handy, use that and then dispose of it.
Avoid contact with unsanitary objects. These objects include the door handles of public restrooms, trash receptacles, public floors, and other areas where you may not have control of the cleanliness. Use your paper towel to open the door of a public rest room. Pick up something from a floor with a tissue or towel. Avoid touching trash containers with your skin. Shake hands with your gloves one if need be. Remembering that you are responsible for protecting yourself is a good prompt for realizing where you need to be paying attention.
If you're sick, stay home! Too many well-intentioned heroes think they are indispensable at work. Too many conscientious parents believe the kids can't afford to miss a day of school. They end result of this type of logic is that the worker or student does indeed become ill and they pass it on to their family and peers. As everyone continues passing the bug around, it gets harder to recover and stay well. Sudden and extreme fatigue, headache or body aches, chills, the sniffles, sneezing and coughing can all be indicators of more to come. Give yourself and everyone you know a break by keeping it to yourself - at home. Rest and sleep.
If you do come down with something,
what options do you have? Grandma said "starve a cold
and feed a fever" and she was right. A fever raises
the body's metabolism, increasing your need for caloric intake,
so eat! A low grade fever indicates the immune system working.
Let it do its job. High fevers can be dangerous and should be
addressed medically. Colds, viruses, and flues without fever
should be starved. The body can then consume the disease to produce
energy, so lay off the groceries. Lots of clear liquids including
purified water, chicken broth, and diluted juices help hydrate
and flush the system of its unwanted germs. Have homemade chicken
broth and don't skim the fat; it has decongestant properties.
Dilute your clear apple and white grape juice to reduce your
sugar intake. Sugar depresses the immune system which is not
advantageous when we're ill. Caffeine also depresses the immune
function, so coffee, cola, and tea (except herbal) should not
be included in your liquid intake.
Transfer Factor. This supplement is extracted from colostrum, which is knows for its role in jump starting the immune system in newborns. Transfer Factor sends immune recognition signals between immune cells and naive cells. It has been proven useful in viral disease, parasitic disorders, autoimmune disease, bacterial disease, fungal disease, and more. Those at higher risk (elderly persons, those who are weakened from other diseases, people with known immune deficiency) can benefit from using Transfer Factor as routine immune support. Anyone will benefit from adding it at the first sign of illness.
Flu Shots. The benefit of flu shots is not to be taken lightly. Elderly people and those with a history of illness or respiratory impairment can help protect themselves from the threat of influenza by getting an annual flu shot. It is important to remember that flu vaccine is formulated for the strains that are expected to be present in any give year. In that regard, it can be very much hit and miss.
Anti-Biotics. The common cold or any other illness that is viral in nature will not be improved by anti-biotics, which are intended to treat infections of various types. If you have a cold, even a bad cold, please do not demand that your doctor prescribe anti-biotics. Inappropriate use of these medications is, in part, how we have been able to grow 'super bugs' that are impervious to anti-biotic treatment.
Masks. Those at very high risk for respiratory disease or air born pathogens can wear filter masks in public places. A good mask can make the difference between having a life and sitting home, afraid to have contact with the outside world. The mask must fit well and filter at the .3 micron level. Most viruses are in the .1 to .2 micron range. There are new, anti-microbial sprays on the market to upgrade the effectiveness of masks. How well they work is being debated.
Our best defensive is always
good offensive. Preventive care and attention up front can minimize
our need to suffer each winter.